Gail Vaz-Oxlade had a blog posting today about the costs of pet ownership. While I agree wholeheartedly with most of what she said, I think that the majority of those people who are spending obscene amounts of money on their pets are dog owners.
Let me start this by saying that I love dogs. We had both dogs and cats growing up and my mom still has a dog and I know many people who have dogs. I have dog-sat and walked dogs for friends. I am a huge lover of all animals.
But dogs tend to rule their owners lives and cost a lot of money:
Have a dog professionally groomed can get expensive. The bathing, trimming of hair, cutting of nails... some of these things dog owners can do themselves, but sometimes not. With a cat, they are self-cleaning! And you don't have to worry about trimming their hair. You do have to trim a cat's claws, but that is easily done at home. I can wrestle with my 10 pound cat to get his fine little nails trimmed a lot easier than I can hack away at a large dogs thick nails... I've done both and I can see why a dog owner would want to pay to get the trimming done - it is a PITA.
And yes, cats do shed, but so do dogs!
You will rarely see a cat owner dressing up a feline. Not only will the cat not take it, but those types of people have a certain stigma (*cough* crazy cat lady *cough*). Dogs on the other hands are dressed up for every holiday under the sun and then some. I don't even want to think about the costs to buy those costumes.
I know that not all dog owners dress up their pooches all the time, but to all the dog owners out there - can you tell me that you've never purchased at least one clothing item for your dog? When we owned dogs growing up, we didn't dress them up much, but I do remember my mom buying the occasional cute item, which was then used once and forgotten about in a closet afterwards.
And even if it's not costumes, there are those who have to buy their dog shoes for walks in the winter and sweaters/coats to keep 'em warm (even though they have fur!).
Lastly, there is the amount of time that dog owners put towards their pets. I have heard countless time from my dog lovin' friends that they can't meet up or they are going to be late because they have to let the dog out, or take him for a walk or make sure the new puppy hasn't torn the house apart. (Don't even get me started on the costs of damages from puppies.)
My cats expect food at a fairly regular time, but that's about it. They have a litter box to do their business in and they don't need me to be there to hold their paw while they do it. They don't require me to walk them or take them outside at all.
I don't know about you, but the only person who runs my life is me (and maybe Husband). It doesn't feel that way for dog owners.
I will say again - I do like dogs. But am I the kind of person who would own a dog? No. But it seems that cat lovers are stuck with a certain negative stigma, yet dog lovers are the ones who often go a little crazy with the amount of time and money they put into their pets. I am in no way saying don't own a dog because that's your choice. If you have the finances to back it up, go right ahead. My issue is when people let their dogs run their lives and rack up their credit cards. Or when people laugh at cat owners, yet there are dogs being carted around in purses, spending a day at the groomers or perusing their wardrobe.